In 1868, Father William Kay was sent to Garnethill with instructions to set up a new mission there, separate from the existing St. Joseph’s. This was to become St. Aloysius, named after the 16th Century Italian aristocrat and missionary Gonzaga Aloysius. Kay constructed a building on the land the Society owned, an iron and glass structure that was dubbed “Father Kay’s Railway Shed” due to its similarities with the recently built Queen Street Railway Station.
Forty years later, the first stone was laid for the new church, blessed by the then Archbishop of Glasgow John Maguire. In a little over eighteen months the church was completed. It was designed in the Italian Renaissance style of the 16th Century, presumably to match its namesake, by Belgian architect and Glasgow School of Art graduate Charles Jean Menart.
WHERE? On a traffic island in the Gorbals district, near the start of Caledonia Road, where Cathcart Road and Laurieston Road diverge.
Standing tall, a proud survivor of the ages, Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s church rests on an odd traffic island that marks the former junction between Caledonia Rd and Cathcart Rd.
Thought to be Thomson’s first stab at designing a church, the building was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1965. Although now a Grade A-listed building, the church has lay derelict and abandoned for half a century, watching as the city around it has changed, but with a certain stubborn Scottish pride serving as a reminder of a grander past.
Across from the church on a small traffic island sits the box-like No.8 Corporation Weigh Office, which acted as a stop point for vehicles to be weighed, back in the days when they were not so frequent on the roads.